How to not be trash
Marketers that have lost their jobs during the pandemic can be forgiven for the irony in this statement, but of course at some tech firms, whole sales teams have also been laid off as well, as companies switch to survival mode.
Crises are never a great time for Marketing, which continues to sit in a column on the P&L headed Discretionary Spend, so it is my job as head of a marketing agency to explain what is lost when a company furloughs its own communications.
Horizons have contracted not expanded during this crisis; I think we are starting to recognise that what is important to us is maybe right in front of us, and that is true in both our personal and our business lives, to the extent that it can be hard to spot the overlap sometimes, as most of you will know from all the Zoom calls you have run and attended.
You are not a strapline
It turns out that we were not corporations and tag lines after all, but just a bunch of people trying to get some good work done. Every day, on millions of PC and laptop screens all around the world, the brand is you and me, and that changes by the minute according to what we said that day and what people on the call said to us.
It quickly became easy to spot that a good brand is nothing more than the sum total of the good people that work behind it. The point being that, in business right now, there is almost no difference between our selling self and our marketing self; it’s just us trying to tell our stories in the only way we know how. The minute anyone tries to fall back on the corporate messaging guidelines, they immediately lose the Zoom talking stick and are confined to the background.
One simple message
The lessons for me are that what marketing does and what sales does cannot be separated any more. We talk about sales collateral and marketing collateral and both fulfil a function, but why are they so different. Why does marketing try to communicate high level messages that no human being would ever use in normal conversation; and why does sales continue to build powerpoints that so entirely off message?
The separate bubbles that marketing and sales used to occupy have been burst and the people are having to rely on the force of their own personalities. Sure, we are seeing a whole new generation of sales and marketing material appear but thankfully, it has a more personal, a more down to earth tone to it, and it expresses the personality of the author more authentically. Before the pandemic, people were calling for greater authenticity and now it has arrived, even while no one actually chose it.
All together now
Specialisation forced sales and marketing apart but this has gone on for too long. Now is the beginning of a closer connection and hopefully a greater collaboration right through the sales process.
And now is the time to be redoubling our efforts as people review what is important to them. All over the world, people are throwing stuff out because they realise it no longer has any value to them. And in business, they are doing the same. If they can’t see you or feel you, you may well be the next thing to be discarded. Sales and marketing need to work together to ensure that does not happen.